Friday, May 13, 2016

Calling the Reaper by Jason Pere

Full Disclosure: This book was given to me by Rambunctious Ramblings Publishing, Inc. in exchange for an honest review. I can't be too hard on an author who only self-published before signing with a fledgling publishing company. I admire authors like this, because eventually I would like to finish writing and publish myself. I also can't be too tough on these sorts of authors either, because I feel they are still rough around the edges and they need to go through rounds of polishing before they find their stride.

Calling the Reaper is a book with a lot of good ideas, and Pere attempts to go about it in a unique way. It's clearly the start of a series and the book introduces the reader to a set of characters that meet their demise. Sometimes in noble ways, but most often in committing in one of the 7 deadly sins. With each "Part" or set of stories, there are excerpts of letters, various quotes and sayings of individuals that make up Purgatory or the underworld and the suggestion that something big is about to happen. 

Pere's world building surrounding Purgatory almost takes a backseat in this novel. He uses well known characters, such as the 4 Horsemen, and for quotes and sermons he uses to illustrate Purgatory are from books simply title 'The Book of Life." You know something is coming, and a war is brewing, but Pere wants you to focus on the characters that the Reaper takes in order to pull back the curtain later on. It's important to really understand the characters and how they died before venturing into the world. 

Pere pulls a GRRM. He throws a ton of characters at you. I could have done without the Parts, but I understand the need for consistency, especially when time would elapse within a character's timeline. I'm not sure how else I would have organized the characters' stories, nevertheless. Maybe tighten them to individual stories and titled them without the Parts? 

However, Pere's greatest strength, sneaking in world building between the Parts of the characters' stories along with grabbing the reader by the collar to venture into his world through the eyes of his characters, is also his greatest weakness.

He doesn't quite master forging the connection between character and reader. It would have been beneficial to restructure the book in a different way and possibly divided the book into two. Expand on half the characters, keep their small stories and show the start of their journey in Purgatory. The second book would reveal the other half of the characters, and the start of their journey into Purgatory.

The overarching theme of warriors meeting their end due to the demonstration of a deadly sin would have been enhanced if different cultural backgrounds were used. We as a culture are fascinated with Samurais, knights, cowboys, Romans and Vikings and personally, I feel oversaturated. I felt like these stories could have that extra bit of spice and uniqueness if different tribes and cultures were used. Zulu nation and Maoris are also proud warrior societies and I'm sure with some alterations, I would have found it riveting.

Finally, because I review books through a feminist lens... only 2 women?! Come on, Pere! You can do better than that! Unless you had plans already to bring in more interesting women (note: I said interesting, and not just "strong"), that is something you need to pay attention to in the future.

One last thing. I don't claim to be the best writer in the world. I'm sure my blog is riddled with spelling and grammar mistakes, but RRPI needs to have a copy editor, or even a few people that haven't read the book who come in and check for spelling errors. The amount of spelling mistakes in this book is unacceptable. Money is spent on the cover and printing the books and thus far, it reeks with unprofessionalism, which I'm sure is not what the company wants.
Overall, it was a decent read and I'm curious to read the next book in the series. I think this is a great start for Pere and he has the makings of a great writer. 

No comments:

Post a Comment